The Alps

A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond


Critical Reaction

Library Journal

“This clever meeting of history, literature, and travelog is a treat for readers of Bill Bryson and Tony Horwitz.”

Kirkus Reviews

“An ebullient narrative…  This spirited jaunt into the peaks of Europe may inspire readers to pack their bags.”

Matthew Price, Newsday

“[O’Shea] is an amiable guide to the riches of this vast mountain range―culinary, linguistic, literary, cultural and geologic.”

Library Journal

“With [O’Shea’s] playful approach to language and a willingness to put himself in uncomfortable situations . . . this clever meeting of history, literature, and travelogue is a treat for readers of Bill Bryson and Tony Horwitz.”


“The combination of a contemporary first-person travelogue in which we motor along with O’Shea, traversing peaks and peeking into crevasses, and a time-tripping riffle through Alpine history’s greatest hits proves an ideal mix.”

Ross King, best-selling author of Brunelleschi’s Dome

“I would follow Stephen O’Shea anywhere he travels, and this book is a real adventure, both geographically and intellectually―an eloquent and engaging exploration that shows how and why these dizzy peaks have for centuries been at the forefront of the European cultural imagination.”

Publishers Weekly

“Chock-full of colorful facts. . . . O’Shea is at his best when describing the architectural marvels of the places he visits, it’s literary trivia . . . and such folk-ways as yodeling. [He] comes across as a charming, ever-curious, and knowledgeable raconteur.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Through a summer of navigating a bazillion hairpin turns, he explores a stupendously mountainous region the size of Kansas, shifting gears with ease among Nazis, Hollywood, food, religion, tourism and more. Author of several books about European history, O’Shea is an engaging writer…”

I Paper (UK)

“His account of his journey, all 500 miles and seven countries of it, is a soaring success, erudite, entertaining and human.”

Providence Journal

“Like any of the museums O’Shea visits, “The Alps” delivers one stunner after the other, accompanied by the kind of witty, informative banter that enhances our journey.”